• Loon Lake.jpg

     

    It’s the weekend, and I am staring at the piece of metal in my hand.

    Glancing up, I see the Fraser River floating by, grey today. It is Spring, a cold one, and the clouds hang low. Though I have noted the weather, the river, the cottonwoods straining to leaf, my attention is elsewhere.

    My focus is back on the piece of metal in my hand. My smartphone is warm, fits well in my palm, even though I can feel the strain in my shoulder and elbow as I hold it toward my face, it’s a comfort. I scroll through my Facebook news feed, and I see a picture of a lake.

    Tears rise and I am filled with a sudden longing. I recognize the picture. It is Loon Lake, located just up in the hillsides on the forested edge of the town where I live. Ten minutes by car to the gate at the gravel entrance and another fifteen bumpy minutes up, up, up through the trees into the mountain to get to the lodge. It’s a beauty, the lake and the lodge.

    I want those trees, that lake. I’m hungry for them. In the photo the lake is perfectly still, arrested as it is in time and pixels.

    It is as though the longing is fixed in me, too. Permanent. There is loss here. I miss my old life. I miss the disconnected life, the life where I didn’t carry a piece of metal with me everywhere. In that life too, I am young, and filled with confident desire.

    I find tears come easily these days. I am grieving. The world keeps twirling and I am riding the revolutions, my own cycles struggling to find harmony.

    If I am honest, I am past middle-age now, and by rights, should even be past menopause – that secret-not-secret time of a woman’s life that we don’t really talk about. On the outside, I am youthful, vigorous, and trendy, and on the inside everything is different.

    I am often angry, enraged even – sleepless and confused, and filled with holy tenderness. The world is so fleeting. My dreams keep dreaming themselves up, and the minutes, hours, days, years fly by. I miss my young self.

    Time is pushing me, and I want to push back, but my hands ache, my feet hurt, and my jeans don’t fit anymore.

    Online social media gurus tell me I should hustle and I just want to nap. I want to tell them to back the fuck off.

    As I stare at the image of the lake on my smartphone, I have the sense that I am abusing time.

    It is stillness I am famished for – and time. Time to dream, create, and make mistakes. Time to sit by the edge of the lake, contemplating a swim, knowing that it doesn’t matter whether I swim or not because there will always be another day, another lake.

    If I could reach back in time to my younger, pre-digital self what would I say?

    ‘You think you need to be brave now? Just wait.’

    In the Internet era we talk about FOMO, the fear of missing out – the sense of urgency engendered by fast-moving information feeds, disappearing content, and a 24/7 economy.

    As I sit here, entering the wide, white space of writing, I am not afraid that I will miss out on the online hustle. Had I been born twenty years earlier, it wouldn’t even be a factor.

    It is slicing into the lake I crave. The clean, deep, cold dive, and the perfect heart-rushing moment when body meets water and the world disappears. Suspended in water and time, and alive to bone, flesh and lungs.

     

  • 2 comments

    I love this piece and its emotion. My favourite line is, "You think you need to be brave now? Just wait." It is so true. Aging can certainly push you and pull you, asking more of you in terms of patience, awareness of what your capacity is in all areas of your life, demanding time for rest, and asking you questions that you never thought you would have to answer. What you are feeling is beautifully represented in so many ways. I love the imagery of the lake, that which represents your freedom, the fluidity of the cycles of our lives, the fact that your longing is permanent resonates with me as I have always felt the "tides" of my own body and my life journey..I default to a river or a lake or the ocean when I need to think though what is going on in my life. I felt the longing you are feeling now for a few years before I retired and now, intermittently, I am experiencing the free flow of having time to be on or off line, to do what I want when I want, to be what I want to be, who I want to be. I am also experiencing being a full time caregiver to my ailing spouse who in his sixties became very ill with a condition that has changed both of our lives in ways we never would have imagined. The swearing in your piece is perfect as it represents that expulsion of feeling you need to release when someone thinks they know better than you do, what you need in your life. I loved that because I have never never been shy to deliver an f bomb where it is required. The authenticity in your writing is so appreciated and is pretty much consistent in everything you do inside and outside of your work life, writing life, etc.

    Reply

    Faye - thank you so much for your thoughtful comments. It is such an interesting time of life to navigate. I am beginning to notice ageism in its nasty little forms, as well as a sort of millennial-centricness, and do feel pushed around at times. I want to push back and yet I am tired, and part of me can’t even be bothered. It is a dichotomy all round. I love this life!

    Reply